Keeping up with OpenNews and SRCCON:WORK
by Dan Sinker and Erika Owens
(This is the second of a series of monthly newsletters to stakeholders providing an overview of what OpenNews has been working on and showcasing folks in the community.)
As many of us prepare to spend a few days at ONA, while glued to our phones for updates on the latest news, we wanted to share what we’re working on with the news nerds designing those updates. Finding ways to function, care for one another, and still do journalism even in trying times is part of why we’re organizing our upcoming conference SRCCON:WORK.
What’s going on with OpenNews
In early December, we’re convening 125 journalists to share and strategize about the ways we work and care for each other. SRCCON:WORK iterates on what we’ve learned from running SRCCON and our cohort-driven convenings. By having a more intimate conference, our focus is to bring together the journalists who are driving change in their newsrooms—building more inclusive hiring processes, creating pathways for collaboration, and ensuring their colleagues are well cared for. Our hope is to create a cohort of folks who can support and lift each other up in the work of creating more inclusive, responsive journalism.
We’re pleased to have the News Integrity Initiative as a partner in this work. They’ve just announced a $200,000 grant for our work supporting emerging diverse leaders in journalism tech. This begins with Diversity Scholarships to SRCCON:WORK, which will bring journalists of color to the event. These are the journalists leading change in our newsrooms and we’re excited about this chance to bring them together to facilitate sessions and share tactics that all participants can take back to their newsrooms.
SRCCON:WORK will feature a mix of interactive sessions and talks from journalists at NPR, Spirited Media, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Chemical & Engineering News, Poynter, Group Nine Media, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and more.
These sessions will also be able to draw on preliminary findings from this year’s News Nerd Survey, which received 756 responses (!) and will be released at SRCCON. By focusing on practitioners whose work is most affected by the themes we’re tackling, we hope that SRCCON:WORK can be an incubator for long-term projects and ideas that people can take back to nurture more inclusive, responsive spaces in their newsrooms.
As we continue with the planning for SRCCON:WORK, we’re seeking other partners and sponsors. If you’d like to help us make this accessible and inclusive event possible, please check out the sponsorship options and let us know.
Perspectives from the Community
Brittany Mayes is an Associate News Apps Developer on the NPR Visuals team, who will facilitate a session at SRCCON:WORK about the importance of internships. Brittany tells of her experience joining the news nerd community:
I am where I am because of a combination of hard work and good people. My passion started at UNC when my first journalism class happened to be a coding class; from that moment, I fell in love with code and refused to look back. From there, I was lucky to be surrounded by people who inspired me and lifted me up to be the best I could be.
Meredith Broussard, David Eads, Tiff Fehr, and Steven King are among the people who provided me valuable mentorship and helped me get to the place I am today. On top of that, I met colleagues and friends from the UNC journalism school and opportunities like the NYT Student Journalism Institute and the NPR Visuals internship.
I built my network at conferences like ONA, NICAR, and SRCCON by attending, participating, speaking, and organizing. It doesn't stop there. I learned about Slack and Facebook communities that were vital to learning about the industry and connecting to the people I aspired to be like and work with, and I was honored to receive multiple funding opportunities from organizations like OpenNews, but also from individuals I met along the way to get to conferences and the like. My passion got me started, but the people I'm surrounded by keep me moving forward in my career path.
We’re lucky to be able to connect with people with a passion for journalism code like Brittany through our website Source (where Brittany just contributed last week) and upcoming events:
This month marks the 5-year anniversary for Source, our website to amplify the impact of journalism code and the community of developers, designers, journalists, and editors who make it. Through hundreds of project writeups, process explanations, and code repos, journalists from around the world have shared their work and learned from one another. Next time, we’ll share special anniversary features and more details about Source’s influence on this community.
We’re working on a cohort-driven leadership convening event for November. Many newsrooms don’t reflect the communities they serve, and decision-makers often ignore suggestions from journalists of color and women that would make coverage more responsive and respectful of their communities. At this event, we’ll bring together two-person teams from newsrooms to brainstorm strategies and best practices for more inclusive journalism. This event comes directly from a workshop at SRCCON this year hosted by Gabriela Rodriguez Beron and Sydette Harry.
At the end of the month, we’re also heading back to the Mozilla Festival. This year, we’re hosting a journalism tech unconference as part of a whole week of MozFest festivities, with journalism events each day in London. Amanda Hickman will facilitate a security for journalists session that builds from the security convening we co-hosted earlier this year. We’ll share the digital security training guide with you in an upcoming newsletter as well.
We’re grateful to be working with community members on so many different challenges facing this community, from inclusion and bias to digital security and hiring. We’d also love to chat more with you about ways we may be able to collaborate. If you’ll be at ONA, let us know if we could catch up for a few minutes. Otherwise, you’ll hear more from us in the next month or so with more about Source and the wonderful work of this community.